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J Neurotrauma. 2007 Jan;24(1):75-86.

Cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers versus glasgow coma scale and glasgow outcome scale in pediatric traumatic brain injury: the role of young age and inflicted injury.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Division of Critical Care Services, Children's Medical Center of Dallas, 1935 Motor Street, Dallas, TX 73235, USA.


The Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) and Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOS) are widely used clinical scoring systems to measure the severity of neurologic injury after traumatic brain injury (TBI), but have recognized limitations in infants and small children. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) concentrations of neuron-specific enolase (NSE) and S100B show promise as markers of brain injury. We hypothesized that the initial GCS and 6-month GOS scores would be inversely associated with CSF NSE and/or S100B concentrations after severe pediatric TBI. Using banked CSF obtained during ongoing studies of pediatric TBI, NSE and S100B were determined in CSF collected within 24 h of trauma from 88 infants and children with severe TBI (GCS < or = 8) versus 20 non-injured controls. Victims of inflicted (iTBI) and non-inflicted TBI (nTBI) showed similar (>10-fold) increases in both NSE and S100B versus control. Both markers showed overall significant, inverse correlation with GCS and GOS scores. In subgroup analysis, both markers correlated significantly with GCS and GOS scores only in older (>4 years) victims of nTBI; no correlation was found for patients < or =4 years old or victims of iTBI. While confirming the overall correlations between GCS/GOS score and CSF NSE and S100B seen in prior studies, we conclude that these clinical and CSF biomarkers of brain injury do not correlate in children < or =4 years of age and/or victims of iTBI. Although further, prospective study is warranted, these findings suggest important limitations in our current ability to assess injury severity in this important population.

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